New Direction Planned for Space Exploration

There has been a continued back and forth on whether commercial companies can ferry astronauts safely. Space policy scholar John Logsdon, who was on an Obama space campaign advisory committee said Obama is adopting the preferred option of a White House-appointed outside panel of experts last year. That concept includes reliance on a commercial spaceship, […]
There has been a continued back and forth on whether commercial companies can ferry astronauts safely. Space policy scholar John Logsdon, who was on an Obama space campaign advisory committee said Obama is adopting the preferred option of a White House-appointed outside panel of experts last year. That concept includes reliance on a commercial spaceship, a space station that functions for five more years than planned, and a “flexible path” for human space exploration. That might mean trips to a nearby asteroid, a Martian moon or a brief visit to the moon, instead of the Bush plan for a moon base by the end of the decade. “What kills the moon mission is the decision to extend the space station to 2020,” Logsdon said. That means the Bush goal of “moon by 2020 is dead. We can’t afford using the station for five more years and going to the moon.” While the Constellation program “is dead, exploration is not dead and that’s really important,” Logsdon said. Already proponents of the moon mission and thousands of workers in space centers in Florida, Alabama and Texas are upset. Congressional officials in those states have denounced such ideas and some of them sit on key committees where they could fight Obama’s plans. For example, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairs the space subcommittee in the Senate. And the chairwoman of the House space subcommittee, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is married to a space shuttle astronaut. The budget numbers were first reported this week by the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today. More information at http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1501ap_us_sci_nasa_future.html

Watch SpaceX’s vision for its Dragon spaceship to ferry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. http://www.space.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=SP_090713_spacex